If you ever get the opportunity to watch the re-mastered film coverage of the 1965 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps then please don’t pass up on the opportunity.
In torrential rain, on a road circuit of over eight miles to the lap which threaded its way through the Ardennes countryside, and lined with trees, telegraph poles and various buildings, Jimmy Clark drove his Lotus 33 to one of his greatest victories. He left Jackie Stewart’s BRM trailing in his wake at the chequered flag, the only other runner on the same lap.
Last week, Bernie Ecclestone suggested that he felt that it would improve the F1 show if the circuits had sprinkler systems which could, artificially and at random intervals, flood a couple of corners in order to spice up the action.
I must say I would have loved to have been present when Bernie made those suggestions, if for no other reason than to have watched his facial expression. I suspect it would have shown a flicker of a smile. Evidence in my experience that he was winding everybody up.
But just in case he wasn’t, Red Bull ace Mark Webber promptly moved in to quash the suggestion, briskly saying “it wouldn’t be the most sophiticated way to make the show more entertaining". He added that Clark and Ayrton Senna would be turning in their graves “if they thought we would have sprinklers and hoses lined up around the track".
Pirelli, for its part, supported Mr E’s suggestion not, one hopes, displaying a lack of confidence in their new generation of F1 dry weather tyre compounds...
The fact of the matter is that, for whatever reason, F1 in the first decade of the 21st century is dramatically over-regulated on the technical side, from the positioning of an engine’s crankshaft centre-line to the cars’ aerodynamic minutiae. Artificially flooding the tracks to improve the racing makes it no less staged than all-in wrestling.
Truth be told, I suspect Bernie knows that.